Summary: Real Faith Receives God’s Word as Life Series: Real Faith (Book of James) Brad Bailey – September 27, 2020
Real Faith Receives God’s Word as Life
Series: Real Faith (Book of James)
Brad Bailey – September 27, 2020
Hey everybody. I’m so glad you are joining in today. I think we can all agree that living through a pandemic... brings some hard changes to life. This past week... I was struck by how significant it is that we are going through these challenges TOGETHER... for how valuable it is to share this whole experience and all the crazy elements with one another. Having others alongside can help us stay more centered... and more sane. And ultimately I imagine we will be uniquely bound together through this shared experience. There are things that no one before us or after us will share in the same way. Only those who went through this will really appreciate the jokes about toilet paper shortages... or telling stories of having experienced Los Angeles streets without traffic.
And of course there is “Covid hair.” Covid hair is how one begins to look when they haven’t been able to get a haircut...but even more so....when they haven’t had to get dressed to go into public.
The pandemic can create a season in which we may begin to ignore the morning mirror.
It’s a reminder of how significant the nature of a mirror can be.
And today...we are going to discover how significant the nature of a spiritual mirror can be.
We are continuing in a new series entitled REAL FAITH...in which God is speaking to us... through the Biblical Book of James.
For those just joining... let me quickly reintroduce this Book in the Bible. James is one of the smaller "books" in the New Testament ... that you will find after the four Gospels ...towards the end of the Bible. It’s written by James....who was a half-brother of Jesus himself.
He is writing to those who have been dispersed. Many have lost their families and work... so much that had defined who they were. So James writes to them... and all of us... and he began by describing how difficult times... can be dynamic times ... a time to discover what is real...and particularly...the reality of our faith.
I imagine most of us have a sense that the word “faith” can be hard to define or grasp. Sometimes the word “faith” is used to refer to a set of beliefs... in the way we might speak of a particular religious Faith. But when we hear the Scriptures speak...when we hear Jesus speak about faith... we hear about something that doesn’t just live in our head in our heads. It’s something that we step into. It’s the reality that we choose among the versions. Faith is like the operating system for all that we do.
So real faith is not just what we say we believe...but is what is actualized by how we actually live. James begins by describing that hard times can be healthy times... times of testing and growing in faith and strength.
And he continues as Jonathan shared last week, by identifying that in such times...we will face temptations...and that real faith won’t blame God or other people...but will realize we need to face our own misguided desires.
When life gets hard... we can begin to focus on everything outside of us. When times are hard, we can try to avoid the personal challenge by blaming God... or blaming other people.
James says when hard times comes... real faith will take responsibility. Real faith will look in the mirror.
So here is how James continues in our text today...in James 1:18-26
James 1:18-26 (NLT) ?He chose to give birth to us by giving us his true word. And we, out of all creation, became his prized possession. 19 Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. 20 Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires. 21 So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls. 22 But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. 23 For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. 24 You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. 25 But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.
There are some real catch phrases here that can easily stand on their own. But I want us to hear the whole of what is being said about how real faith is lived out.